Purpose: Botulinum toxin (BTX), injected into the ipsilateral medial rectus muscle, has been advocated for the management of acute traumatic sixth nerve palsy or paresis. We conducted a multicenter, nonrandomized, data collection study to evaluate recovery rates of patients treated with either conservative measures or BTX.
Methods: All members of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus and the North American Neuro-Ophthalmology Society were invited to enroll patients with acute traumatic sixth nerve palsy or paresis during a 2-year period (between March 1996 and February 1998). The BTX group was defined as patients who received a BTX injection within 3 months of injury. Recovery at 6 months from injury was defined as absence of diplopia in the primary position and a distance esotropia of no more than 10 PD in the primary position. Nonrecovered patients with less than 6 months of follow-up (n = 15) were excluded.
Results: Eighty-four eligible patients were enrolled by 46 investigators. Sixty-two patients (74%) were treated conservatively and 22 (26%) with BTX. Sixty-two patients (74%) had unilateral palsy, and 22 (26%) had bilateral palsy. Recovery rates were similar between BTX and conservatively treated patients (overall: 73% vs 71%, P = 1.0; unilateral: 81% vs 83%, P = 1.0; bilateral: 50% vs 38%, P = 0.66, respectively).
Conclusions: In this prospective multicenter study of acute traumatic sixth nerve palsy or paresis, patients treated with either BTX or conservative measures had similar high recovery rates.